Already planning for christmas next season …
An excerpt from our collaboration with the Cincinnati Boychoir and Stephen Black (organ).
I don’t know of a single situation where there is an educational program that is bringing classical music to young people that is not successful. If you bring it to young people, they get it. They have no blocks about imagining that it’s high brow, or low brow, or anything else. It’s just — it just gets to them directly. And as I’m always saying, “The only thing you need to be in order to appreciate and love classical music, is you need to be alive and you need to have the chance to hear it.” Because it is the music that most resembles the way our thought really is. Pop music, as much as I love pop music, is mostly about one feeling, one emotion, one groove, whatever, at a time and it sort of, that’s nice. It kind of is in that place and we all love to experience it and taste that and it kind of can go on in the background. It kind of creates a general aura in which we can all kind of, you know, settle back and do what we’re going to do. Classical music is not like that. Classic music is, as our thought is, always changing into something else. So when I ask you, “Are you happy right now?” If you honestly answer me, you’re going to say, “Yeah, I’m happy but I’m a little bit concerned that such-in-such didn’t happen just as I thought it would and I’m a little bit apprehensive about, I’m actually a little bit angry that I didn’t see such-in-such before.” It’s a very complex field of emotions and it’s constantly refocusing itself. Well, that’s exactly what classical music is. It’s very much like our actual minds and that’s why it teaches us so much about ourselves.
A live recording from one of our recent concerts.
Merry Christmas from the Horizon Chamber Choir! (Recorded live December 2011)
Stanford’s “The Bluebird” with soloist Amelia Tobiason and the Horizon Chamber Choir (conductor Christian Campos)
The Horizon Chamber Choir will be performing Seth Houston’s “Two Minds” on June 15th & 16th. For more information about these performances, please visit www.horizonmusic.org
I have been a fan of Sara Teasdale’s poetry for some years now, having also set her poems “There Will Be Rest” and “The Wayfarer.” She lived in great darkness, and indeed killed herself by suicide, but from that darkness she also found glimmers of hope and wrapped them in exquisite imagery.
I am also deeply interested in the nature of mind. I studied Buddhism quite seriously in my college and post-college days and more recently have become an armchair reader of neuroscience research. I feel that Emily Dickinson, especially in her poem “The Brain—is wider than the Sky,” and Teasdale were after some of the same insights. I love Teasdale’s description of two minds, in this poem, that have “freed themselves from cautious human clay” and “ride above us in extreme delight.” They seem to inhabit something like the clear light of bliss described in tantric Buddhism, but perhaps colder or more austere, and we watch them enviously from below.
I composed the piece while studying with Dr. Morten Lauridsen at the University of Southern California. Simple materials—open fifths and triads, for instance—develop into a crunchier musical language through processes of imitation and inversion. I tried to capture the conversational/contrapuntal relationship of the two minds, the exultance of their supernal riding, and the crystalline quality of the region they inhabit. I am grateful to Christian Campos and the Horizon Music Group for bringing this piece to life in its premiere performances.
by Sara Teasdale
Your mind and mine are such great lovers they
Have freed themselves from cautious human clay,
And on wild clouds of thought, naked together
They ride above us in extreme delight;
We see them, we look up with a lone envy
And watch them in their zone of crystal weather
That changes not for winter or the night.
— Seth Houston, composer